The Audi A4 is a small sedan tasked with being all things to all people. For those seeking luxury, it has a plush interior and a comfortable ride; for tech-focused customers, it offers the latest connectivity and safety technologies; and for enthusiasts, it boasts well-tuned steering and tight handling, though the truly performance-minded will want to check out the more powerful S4 model.
Measuring 185 inches in length, the current A4 is 4.5 inches longer than the outgoing model and also larger than many of its rivals. This means it has a relatively spacious interior for the class, especially in the rear seat area. Audi's designers also clipped the overhangs to give the car sportier appearance, while the engineers moved the engine more towards the center of the car in order to back up the appearance with an improved weight distribution and better driving dynamics.
For the latest model year, Audi has given the A4 a mid-cycle update with updated technology and new styling.
Stylistically, the car retains a clear visual resemblance to the larger A6 and A8 sedans with similar cues like Audi's large corporate grille, a gently sloping roofline and LED running lights. Fresh touches include a new grille, more angular headlights (now with LED running lights) and a redesigned front bumper.
The interior upholds Audi's reputation for exceptional cabin design with a simple, uncluttered yet stylish dashboard and good materials throughout. New kit includes the latest version of Audi's MMI infotainment interface and Audi Connect, which makes the car a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and also includes access to Google Maps - complete with panoramic views and high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery.
Though prior A4s offered multiple engine choices, the latest model is powered solely by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This motor 211 produces horsepower from 4,300 to 6,000 rpm, and 258 lb-ft of torque from 1,500 to 4,200 rpm.
Interestingly, despite having just one engine, there are three transmissions to choose from. The first is a six-speed manual transmission, good for a zero-to-60 jaunt of just 6.4 seconds, while returning 22 city and 30 highway miles per gallon. This of course is mated to the sporty quattro all-wheel drive system.
Opting for the convenience of a Tiptronic eight-speed transmission will lower fuel economy to 21 city, 29 highway, and add two-tenths to the zero-to-60 time. This model also features quattro all-wheel drive.
The final transmission option is the Multitronic CVT, which returns the best highway fuel economy of 31 mpg (the city rating of 21 mpg) and the slowest acceleration time of the three at just 7.1 seconds. This is the only transmission to use FrontTrak front-wheel drive.
Those looking for more grunt than the A4's turbo four can offer should consider the Audi S4, which boasts a supercharged V6 with 333 horsepower.
Trim Level Breakdown
The A4 is offered with three trim levels: 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus and 2.0T Prestige.
The entry-level 2.0T Premium model comes standard with leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, automatic single-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons and a ten-speaker audio system.
To those features, the 2.0T Premium Plus adds heated seats, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, iPod/iPhone integration, 18-inch alloy wheels and three-zone automatic climate control.
The range-topping 2.0T Prestige adds a navigation system, a 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, rear parking sensors, an advanced key system and adaptive xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights.
Notable options include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and Audi Drive Select, which offers a variety of different suspension, steering, transmission and engine calibarations
All A4 models are fitted with dual front, side thorax and side curtain airbags along with stability and traction control systems and electronic brake-force distribution with brake assist.
The Audi A4 is targeted at the perennial gold standard of sports sedans, the BMW 3-Series, as well as the improved Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the slightly larger Cadillac CTS and the luxurious Lexus IS 250.